Author Kate Lace has delved into the world of rowing for her latest novel, just in time for the London Olympics…

Tell us about your latest novel Cox. 

It’s about rowing and rivalry.  It starts at the Henley Royal Regatta 2010 and finishes at Dorney Lake, the Olympic rowing venue, in August 2012.  Essentially there are two gorgeous male rowers fighting over a place at the Olympics and a girl – Amy.

What is it about Amy that will appeal to readers?

I think she’s human.  She fancies both Dan and Rollo (and who wouldn’t) and although Rollo is an utter cad he does have oodles of dosh and loads of charm.  And let’s face it, while I’d like to think all women have the strength to resist those sort of shallow attributes, we all know that they are darned seductive.  It’s that ‘So, Debbie McGee, what first attracted you to multi-millionaire Paul Daniels?’ thing, isn’t it?

Why have you dipped into the world of rowing this time? Any rowing experience yourself?

When I was at school I had a terrible crush on a school friend’s brother who was a rower.  I used to go and watch the annual Head of the River on the Dee at Chester just to get a glimpse of him.  And there is something that I find VERY attractive about young fit men with muscular bodies.  As for personal rowing experience – erm… nope.  But I have sailed and I do like mucking about on water.  There is something amazingly peaceful about travelling by boat – even if it’s just a pedallo on a lake. Rowers tend to have brains and brawn.  That’s a very attractive combo. God yes.  Beefcake is all very well, but if you’re going to get serious about a bloke you need to be able to talk and laugh too.  Mono-syllabic grunts really don’t cut it, no matter how easy on the eye the guy is.

What did you find out about rowing that you didn’t know before?

Where to start…  How hard the training is, I suppose and the sheer dedication it takes to be an elite rower.  Plus the jargon, the amazing popularity of rowing as a sport, how seriously nice rowers are (okay, maybe there are some who are thoroughgoing shits but I haven’t met any) and… well just about everything to do with it.  Until I started the research I didn’t truly realise how utterly ignorant I was.  Some people reading the book might say I still am!

Will you be at the Henley Regatta this year?

Probably not but only because my husband is actually involved with the Olympics.  We’re fitting in a very quick holiday before the 10 weeks of mayhem starts which means we probably won’t even get a whole weekend together until September.  And sadly our holiday and Henley clash. Boo.   But I will be back just in time for publication day of Cox.  Hooray.

Which team do you support in the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race and why?

Despite the best efforts of my school, I didn’t go to either uni, as I was supposed to, as I ran away to join the army (Jeez that was a row with my head teacher!)  However, I used to support Oxford, but only because I live in the county. But now, because of a chap who was amazingly helpful with the research and who was President of Cambridge University Boat Club I’m afraid I have switched allegiance.

How much did the London Olympics influence your decision to write a sporting-related story?

It’s more coincidence really.  But obviously, once it was pointed out to me that Cox was more than likely to get published in 2012 – well, I just had to have it all climaxing (No!  NOT in that way!) at Dorney Lake.

Was the title an easy decision?

What do you think!

What are you working on next?

I am tempted to keep the lycra theme going and look at cycling.  Or would that make me look like I’m getting fixated with athletic types and that I’m a bit pervy about sportswear?  Or maybe I might go back to my roots and write another book about the army.  Military wives are at last getting recognised as providing the most amazing back-up service for the armed forces and I’d like to wave the flag for them too.  To be honest I don’t know exactly what’s next but no doubt an idea will bubble up and I’ll be back at the keyboard.

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